• Spain's news in English

Football club helps homeless with 'row zero'

The Local/AFP · 28 Nov 2014, 11:33

Published: 28 Nov 2014 11:33 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Rayo Vallecano, the Spanish capital’s poor cousin compared to the illustrious Real and Atlético Madrid football clubs, has made good on its promise to rescue an 85-year-old woman whose plight became national news earlier in November when she was evicted from her home in the poor Vallecas district of Madrid.  

Amid an outcry over the woman’s eviction, Rayo, which is based in the Vallecas district and prides itself on its strong community roots, promised to ensure that Carmen Martínez was provided with a roof over her head for as long as she needed it. The 85-year-old was thrown out of the apartment she had lived in for 50 years on November 21st as she had guaranteed a defaulted loan granted to her son.

The eviction took place amid a strong police presence and despite the efforts of members of the PAH anti-eviction platform, whose Vallecas branch has led the campaign to help Martínez and "all the other Carmens out there" in reference to the thousands of people evicted from their family homes since the Spanish property bubble burst around 2008.

"We are not going to do nothing, we are going to help this woman," said Rayo manager Paco Jémez before last weekend’s 1-0 home victory over Celta Vigo on Sunday. "Not just me, but the whole technical team, the players and the club. We will do everything we can to help this woman and lend her a hand so that she can live with dignity and not feel alone."

Now the club has revealed its plan to raise money for Carmen and other potential victims of economic hardship in a neighbourhood which has always been one of the capital’s poorest. 

Accompanied by Rayo president Raúl Martín Presa and team captain Roberto Trashorras, Jémez announced on Thursday the concept of a 'row zero', consisting of a bank account for donations — which the club's players have already got rolling — and a donation of five euros from all tickets to the next home match against Sevilla.

The money will be used to pay rent on a suitable home for Carmen, at least until the authorities provide an alternative. Any funds left over will also be used for good causes.

"We have taken a step forward and we would like to take many more, but we are a modest club with limited financial resources," said Presa.

Rayo was taken into receivership three years ago and has one of the lowest budgets in La Liga’s first division.

Jémez, famed among fans as a blunt and plain-speaking football man, said it was a normal reaction from players and staff who care about the district their fans live in. "The starting point was to help someone who was being kicked out into the street. If she were to be offered a decent flat or a proper solution, what we will do is find someone else who needs help; there are plenty out there," he said.

"This money is not just going to sit there, but rather be distributed among people in need," the manager concluded.

Story continues below…

Rayo fans held up numerous banners during the win over Celta promoting the club's stance against those caught up in Spain's crippling financial crisis.

"It seems to me like a beautiful gesture, they are great people and I thank them a lot," Martinez told Spanish newspaper El Mundo.

After the club made their intention to help public, Madrid mayor Ana Botella announced that she would try to find a solution for Martinez, who is currently staying with her grandson.

Last year alone Spanish banks seized 49,694 properties across the country, an 11.1-percent rise from 2012, according to statistics from the Bank of Spain.

For more news from Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local/AFP (news@thelocal.es)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Man rescued from bin after climbing in find old clothes
Photo: Policía Local Murcia

Police were called after passersby reported hearing a man calling for help from within a rubbish bin in the Vistabella neighbourhood of Murcia, southern Spain.

Spain faces crucial week as conservatives re-take power
Mariano Rajoy hopes to form a government this week. Photo: AFP

Spain entered a crucial week as acting conservative PM Mariano Rajoy prepared to re-take power, ending ten rollercoaster months without government marked by hope and disillusion.

Eight very creepy Halloween costumes ideas from Spain
Photo: Pan's Labyrinth

Forget flamenco dancers and bullfighters, The Local counts down the freakiest alternative costume ideas to dress up in this Halloween.

Man attacked by racist thug in UK street for talking Spanish

Tomas Gil, 27, from Valencia in eastern Spain was talking to his girlfriend in their native language after a night out in the British seaside town of Poole when he was set upon by a racist thug.

Malaga: Police probe bizarre 'sex death' of homeless Brit
The man was found near Malaga airport. Photo: Dennis Howlett / Flickr

A British homeless man was found dead tied to a bench near Malaga airport with his trousers down and his genitals in a can of tuna.

Clock ticking as Spain races to avoid third elections
Third elections could now be avoided. Photo: AFP

Spain's Socialists voted on Sunday to allow the conservatives to take power, likely averting a third election for Spaniards tired of going to the polls.

Spain worries about tourism future
Photo: Josep Lago / AFP file picture

After basking in its best tourist summer season in 15 years, Spain now sees dark clouds on the horizon as popular destinations reach saturation point and holidaymakers are more thrifty, industry experts say.

Spain's Socialists lift veto on Rajoy to break deadlock
The Socialists have decided to lift their veto on the minority conservative government or not. Photo: Gerard Julien/ AFP

Spain's embattled Socialists on Sunday voted to lift a long-standing veto that has prevented the conservatives from forming a minority government, in what should finally end a ten-month political impasse.

Spain's 'Napflix' aims to bore viewers to sleep
Photo: Screengrab/ Napflix

A Spanish video platform called Napflix, designed to put people to sleep with dull content, was launched this week and its founders are on the lookout for more "monotony and repetition."

Recipe: How to make fabada - traditional Asturian bean stew
Photo: Flavio Lorenzo Sánchez/Flickr

The hearty Asturian dish is a perfect lunch on a cold day... and don't forget the crusty bread and cider!

Spanish 'La Mafia' restaurants banned after Italian complaint
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Hunt launched for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Napflix: Spaniards launch very boring TV channel for siestas
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
Bison found decapitated on Valencia nature reserve
jobs available